9 arrested in violent clashes between Paris police, anti-vaccine protesters
Nine people were arrested in Paris this weekend following clashes between police and anti-vaccine protesters.
The Associated Press reported that roughly 160,000 people demonstrated throughout the city on Saturday in opposition to a bill that would mandate a COVID-19 health pass, which requires that people show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or that they previously had the virus in order to enter public facilities, and orders all health care workers be vaccinated.
Police reportedly fired water cannons and launched tear gas at some protesters in Paris, but the majority of the demonstrations were controlled.
France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin revealed the number of arrests on Twitter on Saturday.
Merci aux forces de l’ordre mobilisées pour encadrer les manifestations aujourd’hui. Je condamne avec la plus grande fermeté les comportements violents qui ont visé certains policiers, gendarmes et journalistes.
A Paris, 9 individus ont été interpellés.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) July 24, 2021
In one demonstration, protesters were heard shouting “Liberty! Liberty!” at the Bastille plaza before marching through eastern Paris, the AP reported. Someone reportedly threw a chair at an officer, which prompted riot police to respond with tear gas.
Water cannons also targeted demonstrators at the Arc de Triomphe in an effort to break up the crowd.
And thousands of people gathered across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower in a protest that was spearheaded by a former top official in Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party.
The protesters were made up of activists and far-right politicians in addition to other individuals who were frustrated with President Macron.
The protests came on the same day that debate over a virus bill was taking place in the French Senate, according to the AP. The legislation passed the lower house of parliament on Friday. The bill aims to extend the pass requirement, which was announced by Macron, to all restaurants and bars in France as well as some other venues, the AP noted.
Macron earlier this month announced the new COVID-19 health pass and vaccine requirement for health care workers.